Is Peter Dead? Did Nicholas Hoult Leave The Great?

The third season of Hulu’s ‘The Great‘ packs many punches. It stays just as unpredictable as Catherine’s husband, Peter, who tries to rein in his volatile and barbaric nature to meet his wife’s vision of a new Russia. The season picks up with Peter and Catherine in the aftermath of her stabbing his lookalike, believing it was him. They acknowledge many problems in their marriage but are ready to work it all out because they love each other.

Knowing Peter, Catherine always has to keep a check on his violent tendencies. However, just when he seems to get better, a tragedy strikes. The thing that Catherine had been putting off since the execution of her coup happened. Peter dies. How does that happen, and what does it mean for the character and the actor who portrays him? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Tragic End: Peter’s Fatal Fall into the Frozen River

When Catherine took Russia, and their son was born, Peter realized how better suited he was to being a stay-at-home father. He thought he was born to be the emperor, but he never really liked the job. He does, however, like being Paul’s father, so he dedicates himself to that. At times, his desire to get back in court and meddle with Catherine’s work arises, but he learns to tame it and accepts his place on the sidelines.

Image Credit: Christopher Raphael/ HULU

While Peter is satisfied with his new position, his father’s ghost doesn’t like it one bit. Peter the Great was known to have been strict towards his son, and his parenting style led Peter III to be fearful but also respectful of him. As a result, Peter never received the love and recognition he wanted from his father, and he didn’t want the same to happen with Paul. However, as Catherine cuts off Peter from the court and its matter, he is plagued by the thoughts of the legacy he’d be leaving behind for his son.

Peter the Great’s ghost urges Peter to take action, encouraging him to take Russia back from Catherine. However, Peter is well past that point and doesn’t wish to go through the same thing all over again, especially when things have never been better between him and Catherine. However, he worries he is not being the role model Paul deserves. Peter remembers his father as a great man who advanced Russia and won many victories. However, he has nothing of that sort to his name, which worries him.

Peter eventually finds the opportunity to become the great man Paul can admire. He decides to attack Sweden and get it back for Hugo, who had been planting the seeds for war all this while. Knowing Catherine would never approve of it, Peter secretly leaves with Hugo, Velementov, and the army. However, Grigor tips off Catherine, and she confronts Peter at the bank of the river, which has frozen over in the winter. Catherine’s attempt to dissuade Peter from going to war goes in vain.

While crossing the frozen river, Peter falls into it when the thin ice breaks under the weight of his horse. Peter is unable to get out of it and drowns. With no one around to help, Peter is not rescued, and sometime later, the river freezes again. When the truth about Peter’s death comes to light, Elizabeth visits the river to bring back the body. However, she decides against it, saying that Peter looked calm and she didn’t want to remember him any other way. With this, Peter III remains at the bottom of the river, hooked to his horse.

Peter’s Exit: Nicholas Hoult’s Departure from The Great

Peter’s death was a shocking twist because he had been one of the main characters in the show. With him gone, it is difficult to imagine how Catherine’s story would continue from here, which is a testament to actor Nicholas Hoult’s portrayal of the character. But, with Peter gone, does it mean Hoult will part ways with ‘The Great’? Most probably. Currently, there is no news about the fourth season and who will and won’t be in it. Because Peter is dead and cannot be resurrected through some miracle, likely, Hoult won’t have much of a part to play.

‘The Great’ employs the plot of visions and ghosts, so Catherine may be haunted by her husband’s ghost, which keeps the possibility of Hoult’s return open. However, it’ll be a recurring role at best. It isn’t yet clear whether Peter’s death was always planned for the third season or if Hoult decided to bid farewell to the character. The actor has talked about how his commitment to the show led him to pass out on a major role in Tom Cruise’s ‘Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One.’ “ I got the call from Tom Cruise, ‘Hey, how about Mission: Impossible?’ OK. Got it. Then I had to drop out because I was already attached to do some more of ‘The Great,’” the actor revealed.

Having worked on the show for three seasons, it is possible that Hoult wanted to explore other avenues and decided to end Peter’s story on a high note. The actor, last seen playing the titular character in ‘Renfield,’ has several projects lined up, making for a pretty busy schedule. Some of his high-profile projects include Robert Eggers’ ‘Nosferatu’ and Clint Eastwood’s ‘Juror #2’.

Read More: Is Hulu’s The Great Based on a True Story?